Another Record-Breaking Year For Cruise In The Port Of Cromarty Firth

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November 19th 2019

The Port of Cromarty Firth is looking forward to another record-breaking year, as it brings more passengers and cruise ships to the Highlands than ever before.

More than 180,000 passengers will come into the Port this year, on 109 cruise ships. Last year set a record for Invergordon with 93 ships and 170,000 passengers. This year’s new record equates to a 5% increase in the number of passengers and almost 15% increase in the number of ships.

These cruise passengers will boost the Highland economy by around £18 million, contributing to tourist attractions across the region, including Cawdor Castle, Royal Dornoch Golf Club, Jacobite Cruises, Glenmorangie Distillery, Inverness and the Strathspey Steam Railway. New for 2019 is a tour of Rothiemurchus, in the Cairngorms National Park and Ecotours in Cromarty has recruited extra staff to cope with the demand for their dolphin and wildlife boat tours.

Sarah Pern, from Ecotours said: “We are delighted once again this year to be working alongside the Port of Cromarty Firth to welcome cruise visitors from around the world. With another projected increase in liner visits, and a desire for more bespoke, tailor made experiences we are pleased to be able to expand our team and carrying capacity for the season ahead. We are incredibly fortunate to live where we do and to have the unique wildlife of the Moray Firth on our doorstep and we are looking forward to sharing it with many more visitors in 2019.”

The industry continues to help Invergordon become a tourist destination in its own right, with Invergordon Museum, the town’s famous murals and its thriving arts and crafts scene. The town is also a base for the 68,000 crew that will be visiting the Highlands on these ships.

The first cruise ship to arrive will again be the ‘Astoria’, docking on 26 March, carrying 550 passengers. The cruise season will finish on 24 September with the ‘Seabourn Ovation’ carrying 600 passengers.

Allison McGuire, Cruise Manager, Port of Cromarty Firth, said: “We have seen a steady increase in the number of cruise passengers visiting Invergordon over the years and 2019 will be no exception.

“This year we will continue to see some of the world’s largest cruise ships coming into the Port, taking advantage of the deep water and incredible attractions we have to offer. This is really good news for businesses across the Highlands and I look forward to welcoming new and returning vessels into the Port over the coming months.

“We are looking forward to welcoming a variety of ships, big and small, including Norwegian Cruise Lines’ ‘Norwegian Getaway‘, which carries 4,400 passengers and Hebridean Island Cruises’ ‘Hebridean Princess’ which carries just 60 passengers.”

Bob Buskie, Chief Executive of the Port of Cromarty Firth, said: “These ships will bring more than 180,000 tourists to the Highlands this year, playing a crucial role in supporting the creation of local jobs in a number of areas including: tour guides, shipping agents, ground handling staff, transport providers, pipers, and the employees of local distilleries, golf clubs and the hospitality industry.”

“This year, we also have plans to create a Facebook page to help local businesses promote themselves to cruise passengers. This is part of our sustainable partnership approach to ensuring these visits benefit the Highlands for years to come.